One of my favorite ways to save money on food is by cooking and using a whole chicken. Here’s how to cook it in the Instant Pot (or oven or slow cooker) and get the most from it!
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One of my favorite frugal food tricks is to cook a whole chicken and use the parts for multiple meals.
Whole chickens are usually cheaper per pound than individual pieces AND you can use the bones to make homemade chicken stock/broth when you’re done!
Plus, when cooked correctly, they’re just so darn juicy and delicious!
In this post, I’ll show you how to cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot and make multiple meals out of it.
Yes, it’s a little less convenient. I respect you too much to pretend it’s not.
But if you have the little extra time to spare, I promise you, it’s worth it.
HOW TO COOK A WHOLE CHICKEN IN THE INSTANT POT
I almost exclusively cook my whole chickens in the Instant Pot. They come out so tender and juicy, and I love the ease (and the energy savings!).
But I’ll also give you some links for doing it in the oven or slow cooker.
Regardless of which method you use, however, you’ll first want to prep it by removing the gizzards, etc. and generously salting it several hours or even a couple of days beforehand, if you can. That is key!
Then, proceed with your preferred cooking method.
Instructions for Instant Pot
** Before you do anything else, make sure your chicken fits in your IP!!
- If you’re going to use any kind of seasoning or rub, do that now. (I usually just stick with the basics — salt and maybe pepper — to keep my chicken a blank canvas to use in other dishes.)
- Set the trivet inside your IP and pour in 1 cup of cold water.
- Place the whole chicken on the trivet.
- Put the lid on your IP, set valve to seal, and set the cooking time to 6 minutes per pound.
- When the cooking is complete, allow pressure to manually release for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and let rest for an additional 10 minutes.
HOW TO COOK A WHOLE CHICKEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN INSTANT POT
Don’t have an Instant Pot? No problem!
HOW TO USE THE WHOLE CHICKEN
It is possible to get several meals out of one whole chicken… if you do it right.
One of the best ways to save money on meat (and therefore food, in general) is to use meat as an accent, not the main event.
In other words, to get the biggest bang for your whole chicken buck, cut it up and make it part of the main dish rather than a stand-alone dish. (I’ll give you a list of ideas in the next section.)
That’s not all!
After you have taken all the meat off the bones, save them to make homemade chicken stock!
MEALS FOR YOUR WHOLE CHICKEN
Here are some of our favorite chicken dishes:
- Chicken noodle soup
- Main dish salads
- Chicken caesar salads
- Chicken pasta salad
- Chicken enchiladas
- Chicken curry
- Chicken tortilla soup
- White chicken chili
- Chicken & rice (or any other chicken casserole)
- Chicken pot pie
- Chicken fried rice
- Kung Pao chicken
- Chicken nuggets
- Stuffed peppers
- Chicken fettuccini alfredo
- Chicken spaghetti
- Chicken wraps, sandwiches, and melts
- Chicken bacon ranch (sandwiches, salad, pasta, casserole)
With a decent-sized chicken, you should be able to get about three of these meals per bird.
For more dinnertime tips, be sure to check out The Every Mom’s Meal Solution Handbook. It is FULL of practical help for getting dinner on the table in less time, with less stress, for less money.
It covers everything from meal planning to freezer cooking to how to save money on groceries!
Learn more about this comprehensive guide to feeding your family well in any season, budget, or lifestyle HERE!
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